As we laid there beside each other in bed I wanted to apologize. I wanted to say that I was sorry for the last few months. Maybe even the last year or longer. I have been feeling so good this last week or two and it's actually been sticking. Not like the other times where it seemed like the fog lifted only for me to wake up a day or two later in the deep again. I wanted to apologize, but I was scared to. It felt like I would be claiming that I'm all better now, and then what if there was an expectation of me to be better. I didn't feel ready for that expectation, and I didn't trust the good feeling yet. So we laid there in silence, and once again I thanked God for how I was feeling better, and begged Him to let it stay.
I'm not sure where to start in this story, given that the story is my life. It's hard to pinpoint exactly when I went under the water, but I can recall many days of drowning. Drowning in depression, anxiety and feeling overwhelmed by the smallest of things. It was long before Audrey was born, so I'm hesitant to claim PPD. In fact, pregnancy ended up being some of the hardest months of my life, and I struggled with so much guilt for not feeling joyful and elated for the baby growing inside my womb. And while I wasn't depressed because I was pregnant, it still it felt very wrong to be depressed while I was pregnant.
Depression is a big word. I was never diagnosed, and I never sought medical intervention. Part of me didn't even want to share this story because I know I probably should have, and I know that a lot of people out there will wonder why I didn't. I don't want to come across as "I was strong enough to not have needed..." because if anything it was my weakness that held me back from seeking some kind of help. I did actually mention it to a health nurse once, at one of Audrey's vaccination appointments. She was kind and understanding, and let me cry for a few minutes in her office. And then she presented me with a few options and put in a referral for me. But the task of following through on the options and that appointment - finding childcare, driving to the Royal Alex, finding parking (I'm serious- this was definitely a factor) all so I could tell them that some days I felt overwhelmed... it felt like too much.
It's hard to describe how things have changed, but they have. It feels like little things, like giving Elliott a bath and him asking me to pour warm water down his back, and just sitting in that moment soaking in the expression on his face. His eyes closed, and head tilted back, a smile on his face that shows how completely relaxed he is. It feels like saying no a lot less and having the patience and understanding to not get frustrated and overwhelmed by his tantrum over not being allowed to "play" with (wave around) the rake. I've yelled a lot less. I've played a lot more. I've slowed down, and so have the ever whirring thoughts in my head. The never stopping "I should be doing ___" thoughts. Do you know the ones? They can be so exhausting.
So what changed? How? Why? I don't think anyone will be surprised that this story is ultimately a story about Jesus. There is so much more to say, and I promise I will, but for now I'll leave you with words from The Jesus Storybook Bible- a book that continues to minister to my heart over and over as I read it to my children.
So God breathed life into Adam and Eve. When they opened their eyes the first thing they ever saw was God's face. He whispered their names to them and taught them who they were. And when God saw them he was like a new Dad. "You look like me," he said. "You're the most beautiful thing I've ever made!"
God loved them with all his heart. And they were lovely because he loved them.
...fast forward the story to after Adam and Eve ate the fruit...
But before they left the garden, God made clothes for his children, to cover them. He gently clothed them and then sent them on a long long journey - out of the garden, out of their home.
Well, in another story it would be all over and that would have been.... The End.
But not in the story.
God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he knew he would suffer, God had a plan - a magnificent dream. One day he would get his children back. One day he would make the world perfect again. And one day he would wipe every tear from their eyes.
You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children - with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreakable, Always and Forever Love.
Ant though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God's children would miss him always, and long for him - lost children yearning for their home.
Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam and Eve. "It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do I'm going to do battle against the snake. I'll get rid of the dark and sadness you let in here. I'm coming back for you!
And he would. One day God himself would come.